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Voting in north Fulton: smooth for some precincts, shaky for others
by Angela Spencer and Joan Durbin
jdurbin@neighbornewspapers.com
November 06, 2012 09:09 AM | 5645 views | 1 1 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Updated at 7:05 p.m.:

Polls have closed across the state. Those who were in line at 7 p.m. will still have a chance to vote. Stay tuned for updates as the night goes on.



Updated at 5:20 p.m.:

Polls across north Fulton are moving steadily, waiting for the after-work rush to come in at any time now.

Mary Armstrong from JC13 at Autrey Mill Middle School said  there were some problems with express polls this morning but the issues were resolved and things are moving smoothly.

"Right now it's fine," she said. "We don't have our afternoon crush yet but we're expecting it."

In Milton, Keri D. Jones at ML01 at Northwestern Middle School said they had a rush when the polls opened and then another around 10 a.m., but since then it's been fairly calm.

"This one was calmer than 2008," she said. "And 2008 was calmer than 2004."

Nancy Mayo at AP07 at St. James United Methodist Church in Alpharetta said they had a lot of traffic this morning followed by a break around lunchtime.

"Now it's picked back up again but it's nothing like this morning," she said.

Precinct RW13 at Church of the Savior in Roswell has been good all day, said Billy Neville.

"We're still waiting for the after work rush," he said.

Updated at 3:45 p.m.:

In a press conference shown on Fulton Government TV, Interim Fulton County Elections Director Sharon Mitchell said there have been a number of items that have gone well at the polls today, but voters need to remember to be patient as they wait to cast their ballot.

"We've done just about all we can do to expedite," she said. "This process is going to take some time today."

Mitchell recognized there has been some confusion among poll managers about some registered voters whose information may not have been entered into the system. She said there is a supplemental list available if their names are not found, and that information has been relayed to poll managers again.

Polls close at 7 p.m. and voters who are in line by that time will be able to submit their votes.

"If you are in line by 7 p.m. you have the right to vote," Mitchell said.



Updated at noon:

There was no wait to vote at Crabapple Government Center in precinct AP04 at 11:35 a.m.

Poll manager Diane Deas said there has been a steady flow of voters and so far 526 people had cast ballots. “I’ve been a poll manager for five years and so far we’ve been the busiest I’ve ever seen it.”

Several early birds did show up before the polls opened, Deas said. Two people were even waiting at 6 a.m. when workers arrived.

“I invited them in and they watched us set up, and at 7 a.m. they voted,” Deas said.

At RW13 at Roswell’s Lebanon Baptist Church, poll manager Jill Massey said everything was going smoothly. “There is about a 15 or 20 minute wait,” she said. Around 30 people were in line at 11:40 a.m. to use the precinct’s eight voting machines.

Things were a little more frantic at Summit Hill Elementary School on Providence Road in Milton at 11:50 a.m. Monty Johnson, precinct ML03 assistant manager, reported a shortage of express polls has created long waits for voters.

The precinct was given two for its more than 3,000 registered voters, she said.

“We’ve made phone calls to make an effort to try to get more, but I don’t know how successful we can be or will be.”

At any given time, there have been 200 to 300 people waiting for ballots, she said. The line inside the school gymnasium “is snaking like Disneyland,” she said. “Most people e have been cooperative but a few have been extremely upset.”

Poll workers have tried to keep the waiting voters informed about the situation by briefing them in small groups.

County Commissioner Liz Hausmann visited the precinct earlier in the day to observe the problems, Johnson said.

Updated at 10:30 a.m.:

In a press conference streamed live at 10:15 a.m. on Fulton County Government TV, Interim Elections Director Sharon Mitchell said all of the county’s 346 polling places opened on time, although three had electricity issues that were resolved.

“We are asking people to be patient. We are receiving word that a number of people are in lines,” she said. 

Although some north Fulton precincts reportedly have experienced voter bottlenecks because of too few express polls for the volume of voters, Mitchell said her office is “not aware of any express poll issues” but promised to look into the situation. “We believe we have more than enough out in the field.”

Voters may reach the Fulton County Election Call Center at (404) 730-7072 to report any problems or go to www.fultonelections.com.



Updated at 9 a.m.:


North Fulton voters who went to the polls when they opened at 7 a.m. braved wet weather and in some cases, long lines.

At St. James United Methodist Church on Webb Bridge Road in Alpharetta, poll manager Nancy Mayo said precinct AP07 was “swamped. We probably have 200 or 300 people in line.” Voters were lined up before 6 a.m., she said. 

But at 7:30 a.m., only a few at a time were actually able to cast their votes. The precinct has 15 touch screens, but only two of the express polls where ballots are created were working, Mayo said, which creates a voter bottleneck.

“It’s bad. We really need two more express polls. I’ve called and called the office trying to get at least one but until we get it I don’t think lines here are going to get any better,” she said.

In Milton, precinct MLO1 manager Keri D. Jones reported no holdups 45 minutes after the polls opened, although there were some delays earlier.

“And that was just communication. Right now there are no problems.”

While around 100 people were in line for the eight touch screens at Northwestern Middle School at 7:50 a.m., only two were there before it opened, Jones said. “That’s the first time that’s ever happened. It’s pretty unusual.”

Insufficient express polls to handle voter volume also was an issue at Autrey Mill Middle School, where precinct JC13 manager Mary Armstrong said “it’s not going smoothly. There is a back up of voters at our express polls. We only have two.”

At 8 a.m., 40 voters were waiting for the precinct’s two express polls to get their ballots, she said, but there was no other line.

Only around 10 people were waiting when the polls opened. Neville Billy, poll manager at precinct RW13 at Church of the Savior in Roswell, said operations were running smoothly as of 8:15 a.m. “We had a slight bottleneck early when we opened, but now there are fewer than 50 in line and it’s taking people around 20 to 30 minutes to vote from start to finish,” he said.

There are 10 voting machines and three express polls at the precinct, and one of the express polls went down in the first hour. “We had to troubleshoot it, and it’s back up now,” Billy said.

Let us know via twitter at twitter.com/NFultonNeighbor or in the comments section if you're experiencing any trouble voting in north Fulton.
Comments
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James P
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November 06, 2012
I voted at Birmingham Falls elementary, which had only two people checking ID's and giving the key-cards for the voting machines. There were 10 voting machines and 8 were unused 95% of the time because the two-person bottleneck was going MUCH slower than the actual voting. What was an hour and 15 minute wait should have been less than half that. Classic Fulton County incompetence.

We had to produce photo ID to get in line, and produce it again to be given a key-card. Some child at Birmingham Falls could have come up with a better system than that!
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